Electric bikes appear to have been banned from the Palace of Westminster. Speaking in the House of Lords, one peer said he understood the decision had been taken, “because they might set the building on fire.”
Speaking to the select committee that reviews House of Lords procedures and privileges on Tuesday, Labour peer Lord Berkeley said he had been told he could no longer arrive by e-bike.
“One Sunday, I and maybe other colleagues got an email from the fire and safety people here saying I could not bring lithium-ion batteries into the building on my bike – maybe on wheelchairs or scooters – because they might set the building on fire.
“I am sure they had some good advice, because they took the advice from London Underground – and misinterpreted it, I think – but that is beside the point.
“There were a couple of policemen outside who told me that they commute here by electric bike. They come on the train, cycle across London and park their bikes here.
“One of them said: ‘I got given a grant to buy one of these expensive bikes, and I cannot use it any more, because I cannot bring it here.’”
In December, Transport for London (TfL) banned e-scooters from the Tube and other public transport following several fires on its premises and services.
E-bikes are, however, still permitted. TfL explains: “E-bikes are generally subject to better manufacturing standards and the batteries are usually positioned in a place where they are less likely to be damaged, and so are less of a fire risk.”
The TfL ban was swiftly followed by the introduction of a similar policy for public transport in Newcastle.
Rail franchise Caledonian Sleeper then went further, banning e-bikes as well only to reverse its decision a couple of weeks later after accepting they do not pose a significant fire risk.
Lord Berkeley said he felt the move was an example of “creeping managerial control” at the Houses of Parliament.
“My question is: who is in charge? Anything like that, I would have suggested, should have come before the relevant committee and then, if necessary, been discussed in the House.”